Int. Relations mum on Gupta sanctions

The ministry won't confirm if the Indian High Commission faces sanctions.

Guests arrive at the Waterkloof Air Force Base for the Gupta wedding. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

PRETORIA - The Department of International Relations on Monday declined to confirm whether the Indian High Commission's Virenda Gupta faced being issued with a demarche showing dissatisfaction, which is a serious diplomatic sanction.

The fallout came after Eyewitness News revealed the unauthorised landing of a private jet chartered by the Gupta family at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria last Tuesday.

Almost 200 guests landed at the base to attend a Gupta wedding in Sun City in the North West.

Officials in the department, the air force and police were suspended for their alleged involvement in the so-called Guptagate saga.

At least nine Tshwane Metro Police officers were arrested for their involvement in the debacle.

The department's spokesperson Clayson Monyela said he could not confirm whether government would issue a demarche against Virendra Gupta.

Monyela would further not speculate as to whether this sanction was appropriate considering the allegations.

An official at the high commission said diplomatic staff were in a meeting on Monday and were unavailable for comment.

Last week it emerged that the Indian Defence attaché submitted a request to use Waterkloof Air Force Base directly, instead of following proper diplomatic protocol.

The International Relations Department was among several departments, including Defence and the Police, which were investigating irregularities related to the unauthorised landing.